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SINGLE-PRICE PLAN EXPANDED AFTER CLIMB IN ESCORT SALES

Ford Motor Co. said it is expanding its single price plan for several models of its subcompact Escort nationwide after sales climbed in test markets.

The base price for any of four 1993 Escort LX models due out in May will be $10,899. That price could be lower if a rebate is offered as it was last year in test markets in the West, Southeast and Northeast.The 1993 Escort will have several trim changes but won't differ greatly from the newly designed model introduced for the 1991 model year. LX models with a hatchback, four doors and a station wagon will be included.

"We're doing this for a lot of reasons," said Ross Roberts, Ford Division general manager. "It really started several years ago when we started talking about package marketing and price-point marketing."

"We did it because that's what the customers told us they wanted us to do."

Several Escort models, such as the sporty GT, are not included in the one-price program. The price for an Escort with automatic transmission is $11,631, including destination and delivery charges.

The basic price for the stripped-down Escort Pony is $8,355, not including destination and delivery of about $375.

Roberts said in the test markets, 50 percent of trade-ins were from people who owned imports or other American-made cars.

He said dealers widely endorse the program.

"The best thing they liked was that it was a value car, not a price leader," he said.

Fred Ricart, owner of a Ford dealership in Columbus, Ohio, said he welcomes the one-price program.

"It's always been my opinion that concepts are better than gimmicks," he said. "When you deliver a clean, conceptual message that's easy to understand, it makes it simpler for that buyer to chose Ford."